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Be careful what you binge watch: Some governments to begin taxing Netflix users


Anisha Koilpillai, Continbruting Writer

Are you someone who watches Netflix or listens to Spotify? How about Pandora or Audible? Do you use Xbox Live or connect online using a PlayStation? Well, the city of Chicago has recently decided to pass a “cloud tax” that would essentially require a person to pay a local tax for every time they pay to stream a movie or television show, or use any of the platforms aforementioned.

The tax is a 9 percent tax, which, if you know anything about the Florida tax system, is higher than the 6 percent sales tax put in place.

I understand that Chicago is a big metropolitan area, but I still feel as if a 9 percent tax is too much.

Netflix and having live accounts on the Xbox and PlayStation already cost a significant amount of money, so why should people have to pay a tax on top of that? The city does not control Netflix, like they do have some control over movie theaters, so why should they be able to tax users of Netflix? It just does not seem like a fair or smart idea.

I think that the tax will cause people to turn to more “illegal” forms of getting entertainment, such as movie sharing sites. The legislative already believes that these sort of sites are an issue, but with this tax, they are almost encouraging people to turn to that solution.

The cost of living is continuing to increase, why would adding a tax on more entertainment sources help with the welfare of the people? But of course, this wouldn’t be an opinion piece if it didn’t include some more facts as a basis for further ranting.

This “cloud tax” is expected to add about $12 million dollars in revenue, according to NPR, which will help fill some of the budget deficit that the city of Chicago is currently facing. Now, I am aware that we are not currently in Chicago, but apparently Chicago isn’t the only place to have introduced this sort of tax. Alabama, in the past, has also discussed adding a tax to streaming services. Who’s to say that Florida won’t start considering something like this as well?

Overall, I understand that this tax will help with the budget of Chicago. However, I do not see the feasibility of doing so. This tax will cause the people of Chicago to be angry, especially since someone like myself who is thousands of miles away is also upset about this tax. There will be people who protest it and will fight to make sure that the legislation does not get passed.

I firmly believe it won’t be passed, and when that happens, the city will continue to find more meager ways to tax its citizens.

But, at least everyone can go back to binge-watching “Friends” without having to worry about being taxed for their monthly use of Netflix.

Photo via Creative Commons

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